Your orthodontic treatment can bring several new changes to your lifestyle and daily habits, especially when wearing unfamiliar oral appliances. During your treatment, it is important that you take care of your orthodontic appliance, as doing so will help keep your treatment on track. However, our team at Memphis Orthodontic Specialists, P.C. understands that you may experience an orthodontic emergency during your treatment. While true emergencies are rare, we encourage you to contact our office at 901-767-5415 if you are experiencing any pain, continual discomfort, or if your appliance becomes damaged. Our orthodontists, Dr. Stanley Warner and Dr. Scott Warner, can take care of you.

In many cases, you can temporarily treat your orthodontic problem at home until you can visit with our team. If there is a loose piece of your appliance that you can safely remove, place it in an envelope or zip-top plastic bag for safe keeping. If the wire on your braces is poking your cheek or lips, place a small amount of braces wax on the tip of the poking wire. If your braces wire has moved out on one side, you can grab the other end with some needle-nosed pliers and pull it back into place.

Once you have been able to temporarily treat your discomfort, it is important to still set up an appointment with our orthodontic practice in Memphis, Tennessee, to review your emergency and make sure you have received proper treatment.

General Soreness

When you initially get your braces on, or after one of your routine adjustments, you may experience some minor discomfort and soreness in your mouth. Your teeth may also hurt when you bite down for a few days after your adjustments. To minimize soreness, keep a diet of soft foods until your teeth no longer hurt when biting down. If you have irritated gums, you can alleviate pain with a warm salt water rinse. This should include one teaspoon of dissolved salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water. Rinse your mouth thoroughly and spit.

If you do not like the taste of a salt water rinse, you may also use the Healthy Gums® Anti-gingivitis Rinse, a mouthwash by The Natural Dentist. You can also rub Orabase® on the irritated area; you can typically find Orabase® in your local pharmacy.

If your discomfort persists, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Tylenol. Avoid taking Motrin, Advil, Naprosyn, and Anaprox because these medications slow down tooth movement and can slow down your treatment.

In many cases, you may find that your tongue, lips, and cheeks become slightly irritated after getting your braces on or adjusted. This soreness can last for a couple of weeks as your mouth gets used to the new positions, and to wearing braces. Our team will show you how you can put wax on your braces to ease the soreness.

Wearing Mouth Guards During Sporting Activities

Mouth guards are essential during sporting and other physical activities, especially those that could result in facial injuries. If you are not wearing a mouth guard and get hit in the mouth, you could risk damaging your appliance, gums, and teeth. Mouth guards are custom-made to fit over your unique bite to provide you with maximum protection. Talk to our orthodontists about getting a mouth guard if you participate in sports.


If your orthodontic treatment requires headgear, you may experience some discomfort if you do not wear your headgear properly. Make sure you follow all instructions that Drs. Werner and Werner provide. If the facebow of your headgear is bent, contact our office and set up your appointment to get it fixed. As you wear your headgear more often, the discomfort should subside. Make sure you are wearing your headgear for as long as our orthodontists prescribe.

Loose Appliance

If a part of your orthodontic appliance is poking the soft tissue in your mouth, such as your gums, cheeks, or lips, place some wax over the part that is poking you. You can call our office for more instructions, or to check that your appliance fits properly.

Loose Braces Bracket

Loose brackets is a common issue with braces, and you can temporarily fix it until you can get to our office for proper treatment. If your bracket is loose but still attached to your braces wire, leave it alone and add some wax over it to keep it in place. If you can safely remove the bracket, do so and put it in a zip-top plastic bag or envelop. Bring this to your next appointment so our team can reattach it.

Loose Braces Wire

If your braces wire has become loose, you can use a set of tweezers or needle-nose pliers to grab the wire and put it back in place. To help keep your wire in place, you can tie a piece of floss around the bracket and wire, in place of the colored rubber band. If you cannot comfortably or properly put the wire back into place, and if covering the end of the wire in wax does not alleviate your discomfort, use small nail clippers to cut the wire. Make sure you cut behind the last tooth that can securely hold the wire in place. If the tip of the wire is still sharp, place some wire over the tip until you can visit our practice.

Poking Braces Wire

On occasion, your braces wire may stick out and poke the soft tissue in your mouth. If this happens, you can use a pencil eraser to gently push the wire down and out of the way. You can also place wax at the tip of the wire so that it does not poke your mouth.


If you have any questions about these or other orthodontic emergencies in Memphis, Tennessee, we encourage you to contact our office and speak with our friendly team. We are here to help make your orthodontic treatment go as smoothly as possible.